Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Shreveport Saints and the Baton Rouge Hornets

Obviously, the relocation of the New Orleans Saints and Hornets is way, way down on the list of things to do along the Gulf Coast these days - but since this is a sports blog, and in part because I feel helpless when watching the coverage of this horrific situation, I'll address one of the few sports-related issues of Hurricane Katrina here.

Nobody's yet talking about where the Saints will play in 2005, but it seems quite apparent that they won't be anywhere in New Orleans for at least the first half, and probably not again until 2006. Even if they could fix the Superdome, it's probably not a good idea to stay where the governor and mayor are evacuating everyone due to health and safety concerns.

So where to? I'd like to think that the NFL and the Saints franchise can find a way to play their games in Louisiana, if for no other reason than to preserve state pride in the team, in a state that desperately needs whatever forms of comfort it can find (commentary on the 2005 Saints' ability to provide such comfort, let alone wins, is not necessary here). Baton Rouge is certainly the closest urban area in the state to The Big Easy, but I don't know whether the NFL and Louisiana St. University want to address situations in which both LSU and the Saints have home games on successive days. They're pretty passionate about their Tiger football down there, and besides, it might not be possible to have the field in proper condition for a Saints game less than 24 hours after LSU plays there.

A better choice might be Shreveport, up in the northwest corner of Louisiana. There's a football stadium up there big enough to host an annual bowl game, and whatever school is there can't be as big as LSU. It's farther from New Orleans, but it might make more sense to send the Saints there to avoid conflicts with LSU. The same problems might arise with whatever team calls that stadium home, but it's got to be easier to shuffle around a school that isn't a member of the SEC.

As for the Hornets, it's probably not as big a deal to share a basketball stadium as it is to share a football one. One game doesn't cause the damage to the court the way a football game does to the gridiron. I'd send the Hornets to Baton Rouge to play at LSU.

Either way, what's most important is that the people of New Orleans and the whole region be made safe and healthy, and that the area can be rebuilt as soon as possible so that whatever will pass as "normalcy" can be restored in a city that will never be the same.

More football picks

Just to throw out for the official record (anyone else is encouraged in addition to Gutsy to post predictions so the winner can be cheered and loser booed until my throat is sore). I included burning questions.

AFC East (Can Belichek call the offense?)
1. New England
2. Buffalo
3. Jets
4. Dolphins

AFC North (Can any of these QBs be consistent?)
1. Pittsburgh
2. Baltimore - wild card
3. Bungals - (still no defense)
4. Steamers

AFC South (Can the Colts stay healthy and if so who's the runner up?)
1. Indi
2. Jacksonville - other wild card. assuming Leftwhich stays semi-healthy)
3. Texas
4. Tennessee

AFC West (Would monkeys throwing darts against the wall do a better job picking the outcome?)
1. KC Masterpiece
2. Denver
3. San Diego (German for Whale's Vagina)
4. Oakland

NFC East (Will the old men (Parcells and Gibbs) rebound and do either of these teams have real qbs?)
1. Andy Reid
2. The Big Tuna
3. Coughlin
4. Gibbs

NFC North - (Can Minnesota beat up on the weak North enough to get home field?)
1. Minnesota
2. Favre
3. Detroit(note any announcers that says Detroit will be ok b/c they have Garcia is obviously has not read about, watched, or been awake during football the past two years)
4. Bears

NFC South (Can Carolina/Vick stay healthy?)
1. Car
2. Vick - wild card
3. TB
4. Saints

NFC West (Is Warner still powered by Jesus?)
1. Rams
2. Cardinals- wild card
3. Seahawks
4. Do I really have to mention who goes here?

Super Bowl- I go with Carolina over New England

Mark Buehrle

I wanted to quickly mention Mark Buerhle’s ridiculous contention that the Texas Rangers cheat at their home ballpark by stealing signs and then relaying those signs to hitters through a use of light signals in center field. It is Buerhle’s belief that the Rangers’ hitters knew what pitches were coming, hence the reason they were able to get 9 hits and 4 runs off him. Buerhle cited the Rangers’ home-road splits as evidence that they cheat at home and don’t hit as well on the road.

Mark, buddy, let’s be clear about this. EVERYONE hits well at Ameriquest Field. Shit, your teammates scored a combined 14 runs yesterday in the doubleheader. When was the last time your shitty offense scored like that? A couple of weeks? Don’t give us this crap about cheating. Also, don’t flatter yourself so much to think that the Rangers have to resort to cheating in order to hit your stuff. You’re good but you’re not that good. What, you’ve never gotten hit hard by a good offense before? Give it a rest and quit bitching. Then again, you’re on the Chicago White Sox. All you pathetic slumlord losers do is bitch, bitch, bitch. Your manager is the Queen Bitch. All of you schmucks should thank your lucky stars you’re even relevant enough to make the sports news. Next time you open your mouth, you should re-read your contract. It clearly says that no member of the White Sox should ever whine since the White Sox franchise and all its players barely qualify as “Major League.” If not for the beneficence of patient Chicagoans who permit a second team to drag them down, you’d all be shining shoes for a living. Now shut up and get your shinebox.

Chutes and Ladders will Make you Crazy

Here is another article that defines exactly what the Indians were thinking when they let Milton Bradley go last year. The man is absolutely crazy and should be taken out on a boat with Bison Dele through Fiji....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

NFL Preview – Go CAR Go

While at Mighty’s residence this past weekend, there was some debate about who the Carolina Panthers were. On the upper part of the TV, all it said was “CLE” and “CAR”. Mighty’s Mom accurately thought it was Carolina, but Mighty’s brother thought it was “CAR”.
Needless to say, if you haven’t realized it by now, my prediction for the 2005 Super Bowl Champion is the CAR Panthers. Go CAR go!

The CARs will win it all for a few reasons: they have an incredible defense, a great coach (Fox), 3 running backs, and, most importantly, they finished the 2004 NFL Season on a 6-2 2nd half. I like to go with teams that finish the previous season red hot, even if they don’t make the playoffs (for those who couldn’t remember, CAR lost 15 players and 7 games during the first half, and still almost rallied for a playoff berth).

On to the predictions…

AFC East
1. New England – I have to acknowledge their superiority, which should be good enough to provide a division title (see below for playoff picks).
2. Buffalo Bills – If it wasn't for the rookie QB, I'd put them in the playoffs. Other than Redhawk Alum Roethisberger, “Rookie QBs don’t win.” That’s the sign I have posted above the door in my bedroom.
3. New York Jets – If there was ever a man destined to get injured its Curtis Martin. He was in his 10th season last year, and had a career-high 371 carries, and a career high 1697 yards. The fact is (1) - Once RBs get past the 10th season, they tend to get injured. (2) - Whenever you approach the magical 400 carry season, the next season you are cursed and usually get injured (see Jamal Anderson, Barry “Bananas” Foster, Edgerrin James, ).
4. Miami Dolphins – I’m just rooting for a blockbuster mid-season trade of Ricky Williams. That would be fun, because it never happens in the NFL. I think Ricky will be motivated to play well, considering the money implications, and the sad future he would face without his best friend, Mary Jane.

AFC Central
1. Baltimore
– their defense is amazing, as we all know. The difference this year? Jamal Lewis just spent the summer in a federal prison, in order to get into the best physical shape of his life!
2. Cincinnati – The Bengals are officially my surprise team of the year. These guys have been 8-8 each of the last 2 years. I think Carson Palmer will turn the corner, and as long as the defense can play a little better, the Bengals will return to the playoffs!
3. Pittsburgh – My personal preferences tend to get in the way of my picks sometimes (actually, this happens often). So, the reason Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs this season is simply because everything went their way last season. Every break. I’m also forecasting a sophomore slump for Roethlisberger, Duce Staley is out 4 weeks, Bettis is out a few weeks, and they lost Plaxico Burress, who I think freed up Hines Ward more than people realize. In addition, the Steelers could easily lose to New England, San Diego, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, and suddenly be 2-5 or 3-4. At that point, I’m expecting this team to just freak out and fall apart.
4. Cleveland – I love my Brownies but I have to be realistic. 4-12. At least we have a GM, and now have a schedule to maintain – we are aiming win the Super bowl in 4 years.

AFC South
1. Indy – these guys are so much fun to watch. They may even play a little defense this year I hear.
2. Houston – I don’t know why I keep picking these guys. 8-8?
3. Jacksonville – This team really confuses me. Their defense is stellar, but the offense is sluggish. They too should be at 8-8.
4. Tennessee – Welcome to salary cap hell. Don’t worry, in a couple of years, they’ll be back.

AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs – If their defense gives up 25 points per game, they can win their division!
2. San Diego Super Chargers – Marty Schottenheimer is the greatest regular season coach. I think he has another run left so he then can lose in the 1st round again.
3. Oakland Raiders – The Kerry Collins to Randy Moss connection is intriguing. The other fun thing will be watching opposing teams shred their pathetic defense.
4. Denver Broncos – I don’t even know where to begin on their offseason: 1) they spent a 3rd-round pick on Maurice Clarett, so they could then waive him, 2) they signed 48-year old Jerry Rice to be an “inspirational guy”. I’m not sure who he’s inspiring at this point, 3) they signed the whole Cleveland defensive line, even though Cleveland was last in run-defense for the last 3 years.

NFC East
1. Philadelphia Eagles
– Even if TO said, “I’m not playing until the playoffs”, I still think the Eagles would win their pathetic division.
2. New York Giants – I’m expecting an improvement from Eli Manning, and I’m expecting their defense to be better since Tom Coughlin is their coach, since he tends to run training camp like boot camp.
3. Dallas Cowboys – Julius Jones should get them some wins. The immobile Drew Bledsoe should get them a lot of losses.
4. Washington Redskins – I can’t believe I have a Joe Gibbs team in the cellar, but I honestly have no idea what these guys are doing. At least they have Clinton Portis, and this year they borrowed Santana Moss from the New York Jets. Next year, they plan on renting Justin McCareins, from what my sources tell me.

Norris Division
1. Minnesota Vikings – They upgraded the defense, they drafted a speedy WR to help replace Moss, they drafted a RB to replace Mr. Whizzinator (Onterrio Smith). These guys will be one of the best in the NFC.
2. Detroit Lions – I believe in Steve Mariucci. If I didn’t have Detroit’s defense in my fantasy last season, I wouldn’t have believed how often they make sacks, ints, TDs, and fumble recoveries. If they can just limit the points given up, and Harrington can make some magic happen with a star-studded offense, then things should go well. I know I’m asking for a lot, but me and Mariucci go way back.
3. Green Bay Packers – Their defense is terrible, and Brett Favre will be throwing 1 or 2 INT every game.
4. Chicago Bears – I like Coach Lovie Smith, but its just a shame that Rex Grossman can’t stop getting injured.

NFC South
1. CAR
– Whoever wins this division has the inside track to the Super Bowl
2. Atlanta Falcons – Vick and company have a great team, but I think the Carolina Panthers are just a little bit better.
3. Tampa Bay – their defense only gave up 304 points last year! I think they will score a few more points this year, with the running of rookie Cadillac Williams and have a real competitive year.
4. New Orleans – they could still finish at their annual 8-8, it will just happen to be in 4th place.

NFC West
1. Arizona Cardinals
– their defense is incredible. In addition, Coach Dennis Green has a habit of finding 1 extra special season in older QBs. Look at this list of QBs who had 1 good season at an older age while listening to the wise Dennis Green: Rich Gannon, Sean Salisbury Steak, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George.
Well, I’m saying it right now, Kurt Warner is going to re-discover his magical powers (for just 1 season)!
2. St. Louis Rams – their coach is insane.
3. Seattle Seahawks – their coach has a moustache.
4. San Francisco – I don’t even know who their coach is, because I think they finally fired Dennis Erickson.

AFC Playoffs
3- Kansas City OVER 6- Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals magical ride comes to an end.
4- Baltimore OVER 5-San Diego – Schottenheimer loses in spectacular fashion as Baltimore safety Ed Reed strips Antonio Gates of the ball. Gates told the ref that Reed “reached in”, but the refs then drew him diagrams to explain that basketball rules aren’t applicable to football.
4-Baltimore OVER 1- New England – Since I know that the Colts can’t stop New England’s offense, I figure Baltimore, a very similar defensive team, may be able to find a way.
2- Indy OVER 3-Kansas City – Indy wins 51-48.
2-Indy OVER 4-Baltimore – Indy is just unbeatable in the dome.

NFC Playoffs
3-Philadelphia OVER 6- Detroit – Philly can handle the Lions.
5-Atlanta OVER 4-Arizona – I don’t think the Cardinal defense can cover the sensational running game of the Falcons.
2-Minnesota OVER 3-Philadelphia – Minnesota’s defensive additions allow them to hold Philly to a low enough score.
1- CAR OVER 5-Atlanta – this is probably the best game of the whole playoffs. After splitting the season-series, Carolina wins the rubber match.
1-CAR OVER 2-Minnesota –John Fox’s IQ is double that of Mike Tice.

Super Bowl
CAR OVER Indy – CAR can play a shootout if it has to. Plus, they have one of the few defensive lines that can create pressure with just a 4-man front.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Fletch Was Right

Before the weekend, Mighty Mike and I were trading lines from Chevy Chase’s 1985 classic Spies Like Us. As I was eating lunch, I came across a blurb (below) that made me realize that Chevy Chase is a genius. In his movie Fletch, after being picked up by cops and brought to the station house to meet with Police Chief Karlin, Fletch remarks “Is that you with Tommy Lasorda…I hate Tommy Lasorda” and smashes the framed picture of Chief Karlin and the fat schmuck that used to call himself the manager of the LA Dodgers.

“The Jeff Kent-Milton Bradley feud is exposing rifts within the Dodgers’ front office. Owner Frank McCourt told the Los Angeles Times that he underestimated the importance of character, a veiled criticism of GM Paul DePodesta. Tommy Lasorda, a special advisor to McCourt, is bad-mouthing DePodesta, according to rival scouts and executives. And manager Jim Tracy, who was believed to be in trouble, appears to be rising in stature…”

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the fat spaghetti-eater is out there bashing DePo’s methods. I’d bet that Tommy’s trying to make a comeback as a GM or team executive. What I find funny is the thought of that dipshit trying to run the Dodgers in this day and age. Not that there isn’t a place at the table for old-school baseball viewpoints but Tommy’s expertise is only of the butt-slapping, hand-clapping variety. He’s simply incapable of competing at the major league level against other GM’s when nearly $100M is in play. Leave DePo alone. I think he’s doing a fine job. Sometimes you need to gut a perfectly nice-looking house before you turn it into a work of art. I think the Dodgers will come out on the other side and be better for it, if only they let DePo do his job and see the process through. Remember, Tommy, we mock what we don’t understand.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hitting the Dusty Trail

The Cubs, I surmised, sent up the white flag on another disappointing season this week when they placed Aramis Rameriz on the DL and traded away Matt Lawton. The Cubs have slipped to 7 games under .500 and are now at risk at finishing at the bottom of the NL Central (lets be honest Pittsburgh doesn't count as a professional baseball team, I'm uncertain the Pirates could win the AAA crown). The time has come to send Dusty Baker out onto the dusty trail. Dusty was brought over from San Francisco with aspirations of ending the "THE DROUGHT". You can point fingers at injuries or curses or the fact that the deep dish pizza has weighed the team down but ultimately failure (which is what the Cubs have been given their payroll) means changes. Maybe the Chicago contigent would disagree but something needs to be done and I for one say it should start with the manager and move on from there.

2. I'm starting with early prognastication...Miami Heat's buying spree is not going to pay off. Stan Van Gundy is on thin ice with Riley. With cast characters assembled there, grumbling will occur and team is going to go off-kilter. I just have a sinking sensation that Shaq is going to find himeself in the LA Lakers Part II or Portland Trail Blaizers Part 34

3. Interesting article in the Washington Post on Sunday about the lost art of the bunt. Basically the sabermaticians (baseball folks crunching numbers) determined that the sacrifice bunt isn't worth it. There are some points that I agree with and some I don't . The first is the seeming decline i fundamentals (like laying a bunt down). If you can't advance a runner then the bunt is worthless. As someone who has watched the Indians all year I can agree with this. The bad side of this analysis is that it was conducted in 2003. Hmm what's changed that may influence the statistics since 2003. I don't know maybe a lack of steriods. Scoring someone first often requires a multi-base hit and without steriods home runs are down which would influence the statistics. Dear sabermaticians please use the right numbers before making claims.

Things you Should Pay attention to this Week
I would say the most important games this week centers around Oakland's two series. Oakland first up faces the LAAAA Angels followed by a series against the Spankees.. A good week and they could have a leg up in winning the division. A bad week and Oakland is going to be sitting come playoff time. This week also starts college football with the marquee matchup Monday Sept 5 between FSU and Miami. The matchup I care up about is Miami (of the Ohio variety) v. The OSU in the Horseshoe. Finally the Chicago branch of The Back Seat Drivers is sending one of their star reporters to Israel to check out the improvements in Jewish basketball. Safe journey Cara....

Friday, August 26, 2005

Michael Finley

Way back on June 30th, I posted the "Shopping Cart" column which kicked off the NBA free agent season with my list of players and the destinations I wanted to see them end up at. Today, I'm doing that for Michael Finley.

Michael, please, if you read this online sports 'zine, don't go to Miami. There's this little deadly sin called gluttony, you know. A religious man such as yourself wouldn't want to contribute to Riles' gluttonous acquisition of every single available player known to man, would you? I sure hope not.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think you should go to Phoenix where you can start in place of the departed Quentin Richardson and Joe Johnson. You can even hang out with your old friend Steve Nash.

If Phoenix isn't your cup of tea, go to San Antonio where you'd have a real honest to goodness shot at winning a title. You seem like a pretty selfless guy and guys like you do really well down in San Antone. You'd get good minutes and no one would criticize you for the no-D game you play. There are more than enough defenders down there that you won't stick out.

Finally, if you want to go home, there's always Chicago. Sure they don't have a prayer at winning a title but you'd be back in the town you grew up in and you could get your ass kissed by a lot of young guys that would respect your quiet style, veteran leadership and playoff experience. It would be fun to be back home, wouldn't it? Italian Beef sandwiches, good pizza, Old Style on tap at nearly every bar...sounds good, right?

Whatever you do though, please don't go to Miami.


An interesting factoid from the Elias Sports Bureau:

Shawn Chacon improved his record to 3-1 in six starts for the Yankees with Thursday’s 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Chacon’s 1.80 ERA is the fourth best in the American League since his debut for the Yankees on July 30.

In fact, since that date, Chacon, and three other starters – Aaron Small, Al Leiter and Jaret Wright – have combined for a record 8-2 with a 2.57 ERA. Meanwhile, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina are 2-4 with a 6.31 ERA during that time.

Remember Superman’s Bizarro World, where everything was backward? How’s this for a take on the Yankees’ season: If only they didn’t have to face the Devil Rays or pitch Mussina and Johnson every fifth day. The Yankees are 38-26 when pitchers other than Moose or the Big Unit are facing teams other than D-Rays. But they are 32-30 when either of those pitchers starts or when they face Tampa Bay.

Box Score of the Night

Curt Schilling, the first human to survive a cranial - rectal transference, in his first start several months against the Royals...
C Schilling (L, 5-6) 5.0 9 6 6 1 5 0 82-58 6.89

Thursday, August 25, 2005

So True

I just wanted to follow up talk about the Monopoly Man/Harley Davidson Driver argument that has been ensuing out in La La Land. I think that Lance Berkman says it best here.

"I think (for Bradley) to make it a race issue is ridiculous," Berkman said. "J.K. doesn't discriminate against anybody. He ignores Latinos, blacks and whites equally."

I think that Milton is a talented player who just needs to shut up and join the land of all other angry players.

I was thinking, besides TO and Donovan...what other relationships do you not see working out in football, basketball or baseball? Where is there the worst team chemistry? I will leave out hockey because they settle disputes by slashing each other across the throat with their skates. I say that the relationship with Ricky W. and Nick Saban doesn't last through week 8.

Zip It

I know how Hitman and Mighty feel about this topic -- that Raffy is lower than scum and should be hanged. I'm upset with Raffy, I really am, but I think punishment has been meted out and the rest of what happens to him is up to how the fans (and Hall of Fame voters) remember him. I DON'T think that other baseball players should talk about his case, either in support or condemnation. I certainly don't think that other baseball players should ever talk about "wiping the records" like Frank Robinson said yesterday or like Curt Schilling says in this article.

Curt, mind your business. Just because you have cult-hero status in one part of the country, doesn't make you baseball's ambassador. You're paid to pitch (not earning your money this year, I might add), not to gab about other people and certainly not to offer opinion on what should be done about a problem that your union did more than its fair share to create. All this talk about wiping records has to stop. All this crap about how Rafael Palmeiro's entire career is a sham also has to stop. We simply can't prove anything unseemly about his career before this season's failed drug test.

As usual, Curt has no idea what he's talking about. But then, you could've asked any of his teammates in Philly and Arizona and they'd have told you the same thing. He's a self-important jerk and nobody likes him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Comments Update

Dear All,
The IT department has set up a new system for doing comments via a company known haloscan. As such comments can be viewed in a pop up screen and are no longer handled by the previous blogspot code. This way of commenting will allow anyone to comment (i.e. even non-contributors) but should keep spammers out (he said with crossed fingers). It can also track if anyone out there is linking to our little online magazine. Please let me know if you guys like this new system by comments or e-mail.

While on a non-sports I just wanted to point out that blogging is becoming more dangerous these days with employers often searching personal blogs and using that information to fire/not hire people. Not to be a bummer but there's a good reason many of us here go by nicknames and I just ask everyone here to avoid using full names at all times. Thanks.

Ruminations: Wednesday (cont'd)

Prolific day for me on the blog. Anyway, two more things that occurred to me while I was editing my thesis here at work...

1. The Eagles: In the immortal words of Nelson, “Ha ha!” to the Eagles for losing backup running back Correll Buckhalter for the year. Through three weeks of training camp, the body count is two skill players out for the year (Pinkston, Buckhalter), one skill player causing a horrible metastatic cancer on the clubhouse (T.O.) and one skill player so shell-shocked by the negative attention the team is getting that he’ll probably puke his way through the season (McNabb). As Mikey said way back in May or June (or February or March, who knows...), the Eagles had four years to win their title and now, having failed to shit, the time has come for them to get off the pot.

2. John Madden: I just saw that he’s been nominated to join the NFL Hall of Fame by the Seniors members (sort of like the Veterans Committee for MLB). To be honest, I just assumed he was in Canton already. I mean, has anyone, anyone in the world done more to propagate the game and recruit new NFL fans than John Madden? When I got into football back in 1985, I didn’t even know John Madden had ever won a Super Bowl before. I just thought he was a TV commentator. Now, there’s no question that some people don’t like his shtick (I happen to love it) but how could it have taken so long to put his name on the ballot. He IS the NFL. That video game of his is the only reason why geeky kids who don’t like other sports watch the NFL. For the love of God, I am really angry about this. Hopefully he gets the necessary votes to correct this colossal blunder on the NFL’s part.


Ok I have got to rant on something that I have noticed the past couple of weeks. sucks ass. It has turned into the same thing as ESPN the TV show, a corporate waste of time. I went to check out the leading headlines for today and a pop up told me to vote for the Viagra Comeback Player of the Year...who gives a crap. Also, their video players and random advertisements are just absolutely ridiculous. Not even to mention that whenever I try to go to their website it doesn't work and freezes up. ESPN go back to actually be a free sports website, not one where you have to be an "Insider" to check last night's hockey scores. I know you need corporate sponsorship but don't make it as annoying. Shame on your ESPN, you now suck and I will be going to Yahoo or for all of my sports information.


Before I get started, a little request: is there any way to somehow filter out the spam comments while still allowing non-blog members to comment? I like getting the legitimate input from various readers from time to time. Maybe Blogger is working on this?

Now, on to today's topic - more from me on various drugs issues in sports:

1. Rafael Palmeiro: I'm still so angry at this jackass. I have no idea what's been going on with this in the last few weeks, and came back to read Frank Robinson's comments. I don't know whether Robinson thinks that deleting stats is actually feasible, but regardless, the sentiment behind his remarks is quite valid. Maybe Palmeiro's name and numbers will remain on the books, but there ought to be some effort, explicit or otherwise, to let every current and future baseball fan know about Raffy's failed drug test. It's not enough to merely place all records from 1994-2004 under the cloud of a "Steroid Era" label, because there ought to be a distinction between merely playing under general non-specific suspicion and actually getting caught. Guys like Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and Jeff Bagwell, who excelled during this era, will forever have to answer questions about the legitimacy of their statistics, even though most fans would probably agree that there's little reason to suspect any of these stars of malfeasance. We should not simply throw Palmeiro into that group; he got caught. He deserves to be thrown into a special sub-group of those dirtbags who we know, for a fact and by the rules of the steroids game, to have cheated.

2. Doc Gooden: This is just so sad! As unstoppable as Doc was during his time with the Mets, he seemed to turn it up an extra notch against the Cubs, back when the two teams were big NL East rivals. Doc's the first pitcher that I personally remember as being dominant - he emerged two years before Clemens broke onto the national scene and stole every headline available during those first two seasons. We hated Doc on the north side for how he made us look like the Russian little league team, and yet we loved watching the artistry behind his masterful pitching. I hope and pray that somehow Doc finds it within him to get on the straight and narrow and lead a productive, safe and sober life.

3. Barry Bonds: Now GM Brian Sabean says Bonds might be back this year. He's been "sprinting and cutting" since last Wednesday, we're told. But no baseball activities yet. On his website, last Monday, Bonds said he will "definitely be in the 2006 lineup," if not sooner. He then went on to plug his 2006 apparel line from Majestic.

I'm still taking bets. Bonds never plays again. That darn knee just won't cooperate, will it, Barry? It just won't let you play at the level you expect from yourself, huh? What a shame. And so close to the record. Of course, this has nothing to do with the steroid testing, right?

4. Stephen A. Smith: Ok, this has nothing to do with drugs. But quite frankly, Stephen A., I didn't miss you one bit while I was travelling.

Ruminations: Wednesday

Happy birthday, blog. Thanks to Mighty and Gutsy for providing a medium for me to hoot and holler about the stuff I care about. I know my voice can be loud a lot of the time so I appreciate that they bear with me. Anyways, a lot of sports stuff on my mind this morning so I’ll get right to it. The blurb headings are links to the articles I’m referring to...

1. Lance: Apparently he did dope up for at least one of his Tour de France victories. The science proves it, even if we didn’t have the capability to prove it back in 1999. That said, I don’t know if I really care that much. I mean, yes, it seems like he cheated but I’m going to permit myself the pleasure of a double standard because it thumbs a nose at those colossal pussies that are the French. They’re so bitter about an American, a Texan no less, winning their national mega-event year after year that they have to revert to digging up old urine samples from seven years ago. Frankly, aren’t there any biomedical ethics issues involved in that? What is the “right” amount of time to keep a sample? Should a sample be tested over and over, even if it is for the purpose of perfecting a test to detect banned substances that modern science couldn’t previously detect? Even still, shouldn’t a person have an expectation of privacy if the sample is used for purposes larger than testing the urine itself (in this case, for creating this more accurate test)? I certainly think so. So, a hearty f*ck you to Jacques Chirac for being the president of such a sniveling culture of people. If people around the world hate Americans and harass (and decapitate) them because our leader is George W. Bush, I say we should all piss on any French person we see in the streets.

2. Milton, Jeff and the Dodgers: Wow, the Dodgers have issues. I didn’t even know that Milton Bradley and Jeff Kent were feuding but I guess I’m not surprised. Kent is known to be a horrible teammate and a very self-involved guy. His personality has to be a leading reason why one of the best second baseman in the game has played for six teams and hasn’t been able to stick in one place long enough to even have a honeymoon period. Then again, it’s not like Milton Bradley is the most stable guy in the world. I’m going to have to take his comments about Jeff Kent with a grain of salt. Second to Carl Everett, there might not be a more disturbed individual in baseball. Jeff Kent may or may not like black guys but does Milton Bradley like anyone?

3. Bob Huggins: Out he goes. I support the decision to can Bob Huggins because he ran a dirty program and he’s generally a royal ass. I think the termination package is extremely fair ($3 million plus medical insurance and 401(k)). I also hate it when university presidents “get tough” like this. I think it reeks of hypocrisy. If Huggins was turning out stars like he was in the mid to late 90’s, there’d be more leniency here (not that there should be, just saying…). But kicking a guy when he’s down is how the NCAA operates. They did it to Bobby Knight and they’re doing it to Huggins. I applaud the University of Cincinnati for finally getting rid of the bum but I don’t applaud Nancy Zimpher. She’s full of shit. She reminds me of the mayor in Police Academy 2 when she goes to the street festival with a broom and says some dumb slogan like “cleaning up the streets” or something like that. Shut up and hire teachers, don’t pretend you even know where the fieldhouse is.

4. Frank Robinson: I love him but he’s an idiot. Don’t wipe out anyone’s stats. He’s just pissed because he’s getting bumped down the all-time lists. If I were Frank, I’d be pissed too. It’s bad enough that he’s on the top 10 list of most underrated players ever but to be further marginalized by cheating meatheads like Sosa, Palmeiro, Bonds, etc. can’t make him feel good. Even still, don’t touch those records. We have no idea when Raffy started cheating (even if Jose tells us the exact minute). Leave the record book alone. Baseball history will be written such that everyone will know that cheaters took steroids from 1994-2004. The record book is like the Bible. There are plenty of lies in there too but we’re not running around now with amendments and annexes. No, we’re leaving the Bible alone and we should do the same with baseball’s records.

5. Doc Gooden: I can’t tell you how much this one hurts to write. Even though I’m a Yankee fan, I came of age as a baseball fan during the Mets glory years of the mid-80’s. Let me tell you, it was a lot cooler rooting for Doc and Darryl back then than it was rooting for Winfield and Mattingly. So, I can honestly say that even as a Yankee fan, I’ve got a lot of love for those two old Mets. This story may not resonate outside of NYC beyond the usual jokes but it definitely hits all New York-born baseball fans in my age range. He was a childhood hero of mine. I hate seeing him do this to himself. I hate seeing him go through all of this again. Despite my GOP leanings, I’ve always been a social liberal. I feel for people that are this sick. Doc, wherever you are, get well soon.

Cheers and Jeers: Southern Comfort Version

We are here the Back Seat Drivers give a lot of attention to the East Coast and the Midwest but somewhere along the way we tend to ignore our Southern breathren. Have no fear Cheers and Jeers is going to shower a little attention on doings in Dixieland.

To Julio Franco (currently playing for the Atlanta Braves) turning 47. This man has played in more countries, on more teams, with more hairstyles than possibly anyone in baseball history. He's the energizer bunny. Currently he holds the record for oldest man ever to hit a grand slam. At the rate I'm going I'm going to be lucky to be walking when I'm his age let alone playing professional baseball. If someone combined Franco's DNA with Keith Richard's DNA the result would be an indestructable human.

To radical cleric Pat Robertson, who a few days ago issued a fatwa, calling for the assianation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. After previously praying for a Supreme Court Justice to die and claiming feminism causes women to kill their kids I'm not suprised. But one day I'd like to wake up and find Pat making a non-offensive or even sales pitch prayer like "I call on all of my supporters to try Wendy's Spicey Chicken Sandwhich...they're great"

To Bob Huggins getting the boot (via either firing or resigning). For those that are unaware Cincinnati retractively seceeded from the Union to join the South. Huggins ran his basketball program like it was in the SEC (i.e. as long as the player was good who carried if they assaulted people, drove drunk, couldn't read). Hopefully Huggins will be replaced by a good coach.

To Lee Suggs (graduate of V-Tech) being hurt again. The off injured Cleveland Browns running back is hurt. Again. We want you to do well Lee but these injuries are starting to take a toll on your fan base.

To the ACC testing out instant replay. I knew my support of instant replay would pay off. Now they just need to use it in ACTUAL GAMES! Also why test it out on a Duke football scrimmage? Honestly shouldn't they try videotaping actual football players instead of Duke's?

To Michigan. Yes I know its not in the South but geography was never one of OSU's strengths.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary - to the Blog!

Prior to week 1 of the 2004 NFL season, the “Back Seat Drivers” Blog began. It all started when Mighty Mike approached me with a magnificent plan for the 2004 NFL Season. Instead of just entertaining each other through emails and random phone calls, Mighty Mike thought we should take our antics, analysis, and humor to the one market large enough to accommodate them, THE INTERNET. I thought it sounded like a good idea, as we each would take what we loved (and hated) from various sportswriters and make our own sports columns. It's only fitting that prior to this upcoming NFL season, we celebrate the history of

A lot of readers have asked, "why is the Back Seat Drivers' URL is ?" The answer: Some Irishmen stole from Mighty Mike. Seriously, go to yahoo and do a search. So the next best thing was to pay a tribute to the Top Dawgg - Hanford Dixon ( a cornerback from the Cleveland Browns in the late '80s, for those who don't know their Cleveland Brown history).

As the 2004 NFL Season kicked off, I emulated my childhood hero, Norman Chad, by composing a weekly comedic article to pick all of the NFL games for the week. I used superstition, comedy, sarcasm, with a dash of logic as he succeeded in producing entertainment. When it came to actually predicting, I limped my way to a pathetic 58.5 % success rate and had an astounding 4 weeks where I finished below .500.

Meanwhile, Mighty Mike provided a weekly column during the season, titled “5th Street” before hundreds of columnists copied his format. At the height of the popularity of poker, before all of us grew sick of the poker references, Mighty had his column broken down into, “The Flop,” “The Turn”, and “The River.” By providing banter on not just football, but other sports, politics, and world events, Mighty helped reach a broader audience for the blog.

Once the football season ended, bloggers and spammers across the nation wondered, would the blog go on? The answer was a resounding “Yes.” I provided more comedy and sarcasm by focusing on his specialties- the NBA, college basketball, and Family Double Dare. Mighty Mike stuck with some unique opinion pieces on every sport, including baseball, the nation’s pastime. But once the NFL season had ended, the readers wanted more. Other contributors were soon recruited. MJ, Hart, Colonel Sanders, and Beth have provided fresh new opinions for the blogs, and seem to be really popular with the 18-34 demographic, which happens to be the blog’s target market. Plus, MJ & Beth help provide a pro-Yankee viewpoint to the anti-Yankee nation that we live in.

I just wanted to thank Mighty Mike for his foresight in creating this blog, which has provided joy to jedi across the galaxy. In addition, his contribution to this very article was also helpful! After 1 year on the blog, some statistics show how far the blog has come.

*As of 8/23 - If you type in “Back Seat Drivers” into Yahoo, the blog comes up as the #2 site!
*Unofficially, there have been 259 posts so far
-MJ has submitted 86 posts.
-Mighty Mike has submitted 78 posts.
-Gutsy Goldberg has submitted 52 posts.
-Hart has submitted 32 posts.
-Colonel Sanders has submitted 8 posts.
-Beth has submitted 3 posts.

Other Facts and Figures of Note:
Average Daily Visit Number: 41
Least Common Language of Visitor: Farsi
Favorite Mighty Mike Post: Rams come from behind victory over Seattle
Most Depressing Mighty Mike Post: Darkness Warshed Over the Dude
Favorite Gutsy Goldberg Post: Why this will be a great NBA Finals...
Most Fictional Gutsy Goldberg Post: Q & A with Isiah Thomas

Freaks of Nature

I was listening to Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio this morning and he asked a certain question that I would like to pose to the blog members (not the people that advertise for severe halitosis and pain killers without a prescription). What players in all of the major leagues of play can never be matched That is they are just absolutely amazing that you can never have another player like them. These are players that we actually go to see just for that player because they are that incredible and don't know what they will do next. Like for instance, Lebron James is viewed as the next Michael Jordan. However, someone like MJ can never been repeated. Here are my two from each league that I view are those that will never come around again.

Baseball: Barry Bonds (although i hope comes down with ebola, this is a no brainer and even without the juice, he still is probably the greatest baseball player of our time and perhaps all time); Big Train Walter Johnson (I wasn't alive to see him play but there is definately a vib with saying pitchers could be the next Walter Johnson, This is just incredible stats for him, 1913: 1.14 ERA, 36-7, 346 IP, 243 Ks, 0.76 WHIP)

Hockey: Gretkzy is the easy one, this man's records will NEVER be touched, he has 700 more assists than the next guy and 100 more goals, and 1000 more points than Mark Messier who is 80 years old; Mario Lemeiux, just an absolute fluid player on the ice who you would never know what he would do next...would pull shit out of his ass that you never quite understood.

Football: Barry Sanders: although some of you know I would like to be the surrogate father to Barry Sanders son, Barry is just absolutely amazing, no other player will come close to what he did on the football field, nobody ever had the feet that Barry did. I think Emmitt Smith said it best that if Barry stayed in the game a few more years longer he would easily have gotten the record from Sweetness. Emmit averaged 4.16 yards a carry, Sweetness averaged 4.35 and Barry averaged 4.98. Another player I would see ever again is Brett Favre...with the pussification of the NFL, I don't think that you will see players that just take their vicodin and get back into the game.

Basketball: MJ (given), and there are quite a few others.

What players do you think that we tend to compare players now to but nobody can ever match up to them??

Feelin’ Optimistic (for a change)

Despite the fact that I’ve been working 16-hour days at the office (eight hours at work + eight hours at work hammering away on my thesis), despite the fact that waking up in the morning is getting harder and harder to do, and despite the fact that I have to move all my crap out of my apartment this weekend, I’m feeling optimistic this morning. It could have something to do with the fact that the weather is far more pleasant here in NYC than it was even a week ago. It could also have something to do with the fact that football season is around the corner. But really it’s because the Yanks aren’t dead yet.

I’ll be the first to admit that my natural tendency is towards pessimism and morose proclamations. I’ll also be the first to admit that the optimism I feel today will probably fade by day’s end, or at least as quickly as it takes Al Leiter to get to 60 pitches (usually somewhere in the third inning). But for right now, I feel good and I’m going with it.

You see, I crunched some numbers this morning and I liked what I saw. After their 7-0 shutout of the Blue Jays last night, the Yanks pushed themselves into a tie for first in the Wild Card race with a 68-55 record. On July 1st the Yanks were 39-39, meaning that they’ve gone 29-16 since that date (.644). It may not seem it, what with my pessimism and the rest of the US sporting media tossing dirt on their chances, but the Yanks have actually won at a very respectable rate since the first day of July. Even more interesting is that since May 6th, when they were 11-19, they’ve gone 57-36 (.612). Had the Yanks played .500-ball coming out of the gate, had they won four more measly games to even their record at 15-15, they’d be in first place in the AL East today. Over the last six weeks, I can count six games they should’ve won. What this tells me is that they’re hanging around, hanging around (“Rounders” reference) and may yet make the playoffs. They may even find a way to claw back into first place in their division. I’m not actually predicting the latter but it’s definitely possible. I mean, any team that’s playing .612 ball since May 7th deserves a little more respect than I’ve given them (or anyone else, for that matter).

Hopefully I haven’t jinxed them. But even if I have, it’s nice to know that once in a blue moon I can wake up and feel more bubbly than usual.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Note From the Managemetn (Part II)

Henceforth you must be a member of this blog in order to post . Hopefully this change will allow us to avoid any unecessary bloodshed

From the Management

Henceforth you must be registered with blogspot (albeit not necessarily with this website) in order to post comments. If this change is ineffective further changes will be made (possibly including allowing Colonel to form a para-military group to hunt down various spammers).

We know return you to reguarly scheduled programming.

More non-sports related stuff

Just as a follow up to Mike's article on Bob Costas. It looks like the St. Louis native is back at it again.

The great sports commentator and person who we attribute to the Olympics decided not to be a part of a CNN show on the BTK killer's sentencing. I guess he didn't want to question the merits of why he was given 10 life sentences instead of 5 life sentences. I think Bob Costas exemplifies truly great journalism and wish that other blowhards out there (Bill O'Reilly and the entire Fox News crew) would follow his role of great journalism. Keep it up Bob. Maybe you should take the place of Larry King, after he quits so he can father 5 more kids at the age of 90.

Really Quickly...

Two quick points (or hits on the cowbell, as Sports Guy would say)...

1. Shawn Chacon: I think the general consensus was that this guy sucked as a member of the Rockies. Yankee fans are finding out, however, that he sucked because he was a member of the Rockies. Be it the 5,000 foot drop in altitude, the chance to make the post-season or the alignment of Mars and Venus in Mercury retrograde, Mr. Chacon continues to impress. As a member of the Yanks he has appeared in six games (five as a starter) and has compiled a 2-1 record with an ERA, WHIP, K/9 and BAA of 1.63, 1.15, 6 and .221. He's our best starter and that may be pathetic or it may be great, depending on your outlook. As far as I’m concerned, it’s great – I never liked Mussina, Wright or Pavano and while I had higher hopes for Big Unit, he’s not doing the job the way he should be. So, Chacon’s my trade deadline pickup of the year. I’m not kidding, he’s been the best player I can think of that changed hands last month.

2. Daily Quickie: Here's an opinion-nugget that I found amusing:

"More NFL: It doesn't help Alex Smith that draft rival Braylon Edwards caught a last-minute, winning TD for the Browns. (Say it: Wrong pick, SF!)"

Does anyone else think that the 49ers would be better off with Edwards instead of Smith? While Smith may or may not have been the best use of the first-overall pick, I really doubt that Braylon Edwards would've made an impact on the NFC West with Tim Rattay tossing him the short inside stuff the Niners love to run. I'm not bashing the author (a first for now, but read on...), I just think the opinion expressed shows why ESPN stinks -- they just blah-blah-blah stuff even if it doesn't make sense. They should consider renaming ESPN the "Every Stupid Prick Network" since that's who they're hiring these days.

Also, I couldn’t resist mentioning Dan Shanoff’s typo. Its no secret that I hate this smug bastard’s guts. He’s such a moron. From his bully-pulpit, he ejects all sorts of nonsensical Yankee-hating, Gammons-infused sperm from his mouth. That’s why I got a kick out of seeing the typo in yet another blurb of his about the Yanks. I’m beginning to wonder if Dan Shanoff isn’t secretly infatuated with the Yanks. Why else talk about them 24 hours a day?

“ChiSox salvage, Unit rocked: Continuing our game of 'You Know You’re Team Is Having a Bad Season When ...'”

Dan, go back to the second grade and learn the difference between conjunctions and pronouns. From what I understand, you're Harvard-educated. Either they made a mistake letting you in or your parents deserve a refund. I'm likely to believe the former.

MLB Scheduling Office

The MLB Scheduling Office must be populated with pinhead mongoloids or other mentally-challenged individuals. How else to explain why the Phillies and Mets, who just finished road trips in San Diego and Los Angeles last week came back to the east coast for six game homestands only to be booked back out west again this week for six games in Phoenix and San Francisco. Why not get all of the west coast games out of the way all at once? Why not have them travel half the distance for road games in Chicago or St. Louis or Denver? Why bring them all the way back for home games just to send them all the way back out again? Incidentally, the same miserable fate was not thrust upon the Braves, Marlins or Nationals who, between them, have only one west coast trip left. Why the schedule imbalance in their favor? This trip will be the straw that breaks the Mets' and Phils' backs in the Wild Card race. You can't expect teams to travel cross country twice in 10 days and still be operating on all cylinders.

If you ask me, I think they need to figure out a way to get all of the west coast travel done by July 31st and no later for all east coast teams. It'll level the playing field for everyone. Furthermore, why is it that the Yanks, Red Sox and the rest of the AL East will play two series in Seattle, Oakland, Texas and Anaheim this year but only one series in Minnesota, Chicago and Cleveland? Why on earth does the MLB Scheduling Office think it's better to send east coast teams to the west more than to the midwest? I'd rather watch the Yanks play the Indians than the Mariners. Who cares about the damn Mariners?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sports Reporters aren't that bad...

1. We spend a lot of time here at The Back Seat Drivers bashing the hell out of sports reporters/commentators and for good reason. Today I come to praise them not bury them. Well sports reporters turned real news commentators. Behold I give you Bob Costas. First of all I Costas is one of the finest sports commentators of our generations. He's incrediably knowledgable, well spoken, even keeled and he doesn't take himself that seriously (I would point out his interview with Conan O'Brian where Bob ridicules the hell out of himself). Here's the catch, Costas has been filling in on occasion for Larry King, i.e. doing real interviews on REAL subjects. He takes it seriously which is why he refused to cover when the show was about Natalie Holloway. Now I'm all for following the doings of a missing upper class white woman but given the state of ACTUAL news CNN might as well as be covering TO 24-7. Exploiting the situation in Aruba (its been 57 odd days since she disappeared what kind of breaking stories could you have) is the type of sensational tabloid journalism that might get ratings but cloaks this country in ignorance on issues that are actually important. Thanks Bob for at least acting like a journalist with ethics.

2. If this week hasn't exposed the Dirty Soxs for the frauds that they are nothing will. Its coming down stretch and the Chi-Sox have dropped 7 in a row. Without Posdenik this team has no offense and the pitching is no longer putting on Cy Young type performances every night. In other words the SS South Side of Chicago is taken on water faster than I can eat a hot corn beef sandwhich. Would be apropos if this was the Big Choke err Big Hurts last season.

3. For those outside the Cleveland area you might not be hearing enough on Jhonny Peralta, the Cleveland Indians up and coming short stop. At age 23 (ie young enough to be MJ's son)Peralta is batting .306 with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs. Not bad for playing most of the season hitting out of the 9th spot. This kid is the real deal and should and WILL be discussed in the same breath as Tejada, Jeter and the rest of great offensive shortstops in the game today in the near future. Unless this post jinx's him which it assuredly will unless I add he still plays for Cleveland therefore it won't happen.

4. A few preseason football thoughts (note the preseason has slightly less predictive powers than a flaming bag of poop). Pennington's arm has not yet fallen off. That should be good news for Jets fans (although the year is still young). Carson Palmer hasn't looked too good the last 2 exhibition games. The Bungals have high hopes and what has held them back from the playoffs the last 2 years is bad starts coming out of the gates. I think Brandon Jacobs (of the NY football Giants) reminds me of a young Christian Okoye. The Browns, under Romeo Crennel, seem to be making progress in that they at least have some fundamentals down (like tackling and not driving motorcycles into walls). Does have any reporting that does require insider registration?

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Inside tip (from one of legions of thedawggs tipsters) is that the local radio station here in Columbus is reporting that Roger Clemens will be busted for steriods on Monday. Reporting gossip that may or may not have basis in reality. Wow. Now I know what it feels like to be an ESPN reporter.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rocket=Cy Young

While I am drinking my rum and coke this evening since it is a rum and coke Thurs. I decided to turn on ESPN on Direct TV and see what was on. The 'Stros were playing the Brew Crew at Enron Field. I was thinking that I should perhaps write a column on why I think that Rocket Clemens deserves an record setting 8th Cy Young. There has never been a pitcher in my lifetime that has been as dominant as Rocket. As I am watching this he has 5 Ks through 3 IP, and going towards lowering his ML leading 1.32. I say that any starter with over 200 IP that has a ERA lower than 1.50 deserves the Cy Young any year. Anybody who wants to give Carpenter the CY because he plays for the ML leading team Cardinals is just stupid. Rocket ha Anyone want to give me a case for Carpenter or D-Train instead of Rocket? Sorry for sucking Rocket's dick but the man is just incredible. I would say he is hands down the best pitcher of the 90s and 00s, maybe Jose Rijo was better but he had Bo Diaz to back him up. And of course he was born a Dayton Flyer, which doesn't hurt anything.

Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Coke Thursday

Hey all its Thursday and its been a loooong week for lots of people so I figure a little cheers and jeers is in order (with a shameless ripoff off of billinportland from dailykos) . Without further ado

Quotes of the day:

Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.
Dave Barry

"The media are making the Plame case far too complicated. Bush can no more fire Rove than dummy Charlie McCarthy could fire ventriloquist Edgar Bergen."

To Gutsy who's taking some super tough patent law exam tommorow. Good luck Gutsy. Remember if you hit any troubles immediately DDT your proctor.

TO returning to the practice field. Eagles should put him in a meat locker or something. Its literally like watching a small child that didn't get to play with the flintstone phone. Sure everyone likes the Flintstone phone but if I didn't get it I wouldn't ignore my QB or whine that my coach had a potty mouth or whatever it is TO complains about if he doesn't get a nap with milk and cookies.

To the daily quikie and Dan Shanoff. I know it MJ's department to bash the hell out of this guy but here's the catch...if you have a national perch (even if it is ESPN) try at least to mask your biases. Yes I know Shanoff is wetting himself with the idea that the Yanks won't make the playoffs. I'm not saying the Yanks WILL make the playoffs but they are 1 and 1/2 games out of the Wild Card with just about everyone else in the hunt slipping up. If somebody is going to get into the playoffs out of the NL West then its assuredly possibly that even imperfect teams like the Yanks could slip in.

To getting in a little more golf before labor day kicks in and time on the green goes bye-bye. I enjoy the calmness of envisioning myself hit a nice shot straight. I like imagining sinking a 12 foot putt. I like the fact that there are lots of places to store the bodies of people in my way when I go into a TO like rage after shanking a drive.

To Bob Taft, governor of Ohio, being indicted on 4 misdemeanor counts for ethics violations. Always nice to see a governor of a state have to enter a plea in court while he/she is still SITTING in office. Way to go Bob. How does this relate to sports? Taft is in trouble for receiving free games of golf and his great-grandfather (William Taft) was the first modern President to play golf while in office.

Baltimore Ravens. On general principal. I hate them sooo much. If anyone deserved a swirly its Brian Billick.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Potential Trade?

Not that I take anything Dan Shanoff writes seriously since he’s proven to be nothing if not an idiotic mook but I did read the following:

“Thome has his elbow surgery. Is he done in Philly? Phenom Ryan Howard is installed. (Next stop: Swap to Boston for Manny in the offseason?)”

God I only hope this trade happens. Not only does it break up the lefty-righty combo of Ortiz/Ramirez but in Thome it gives the Red Sox an older and more fragile player who is in decline. At his peak Thome was still less productive than Manny – the Red Sox would be giving up on perhaps the single-greatest run producer in baseball – and Manny’s still in his prime. Not only that, but the Red Sox would be losing production in left field where, if it weren’t for Manny, they would have one of the weakest power-hitting outfields in the American League.

I have to believe that the Red Sox will shop Manny again this offseason, even if they do win the World Series again this year. I have to believe that they’ll trade him to the National League, just so they don’t have to see him and get burned by him on another team. I also have to believe that Theo Epstein won’t trade Manny for a guy like Jim Thome. He might be an overrated GM but he’s not a complete moron (for the record, as overrated as he might be, I still think he's a damn fine GM). The Red Sox do have needs at first base, centerfield and in their pitching and bullpen corps but I seriously doubt that Theo will go after Thome to replace Millar at the corner infield spot. More realistically, Theo will go after a package deal where Manny can net the Sox 2-4 players to fill in holes.

The Red Sox were wise not to trade Manny for Cameron and Huff last month because they were in the middle of a title defense and a pennant race. If a similar deal were to come along in the offseason, the Red Sox might be more willing to pull the trigger.

In the meantime, I’d love it if Shanoff were right for once in his life. Unfortunately, though, I think Philly’s stuck with Thome. Too bad. It’d be nice seeing him at Fenway with his .205 average RISP/.764 OPS (RISP)/.723 OPS (close and late) in 2004 and 2005. That beats having to face Manny…

Baseball and Instant Replay

I was watching the Indians the other night and Victor Martinez hit a shot off Kenny Rogers that bounced off the wall before settling into the outfielders glove. The outfield held up the ball like he had caught and since the umpires were out of place they ruled Martinez out. No even close a blown call. I'm not a baseball traditionalist. I don't mind night games or wild cards or even inter-league play so I'm going to propose something radical - instant replay for baseball. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't have instant replay on close plays (e.g. home runs, plays at the plate,etc). The umps have a tough job and while I would never infringe on their right to call whatever strike zone they see fit, one could see how having instant replay on some key plays might prove to be beneficial. Lets be honest pausing play in baseball isn't like pausing play in football (there is no flow in baseball hence the need for beer). I imagine it will take a blown call controversy in the playoffs for baseball to inch towards the modern world and adopt some form of instant replay but that won't prevent me from getting up on my little soap box and declaring for baseball to get with it and get the calls right.

NHL Offseason Report Cards

I realize most people don’t like hockey, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called me up after seeing last week's NBA Offseason Report Cards. Bettman was jealous to say the least, and I got so sick of his whining, so I decided to put together… THE NHL OFFESEASON REPORT CARDS! I’m only going to highlight the well-known players, and I’m doing it by division, so that it’s somewhat helpful and educational.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Flyers
Lost: Jeremy Roenick, Danny Markov,
Acquired: Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher
Wow. I hate Philly’s GM, but I still have to grade him on the merits of his transactions, and whenever someone lands Peter Forsberg, that’s pretty excellent.
Grade: B (would have been an A, but I don’t like Philly, except for Will Smith and Rocky Balboa)

Pittsburgh Penguins
Lost: ???
Acquired: Sergei Gonchar, Ziggy Palffy, Mark Rechi, John LeClair, AND super-phenom 18-year-old Sidney Crosby
Adding 5 quality players certainly helps. Considering they won the lottery and acquired some decent players to attract fans and maybe make the playoffs, you can’t ask for much more.
Grade: A

Northeast Division
Boston Bruins

Lost: Sergei Gonchar,
Acquired: Brian Leetch, Glen Murray
Anytime you acquire multiple players from EA Sports NHL ’94, and lose out on one of the best defensemen in the league [Gonchar], well, that’s just not a very good off-season. I’m sure Boston will still manage to win their division, get a great seed, and lose to the Canadiens in the 1st round. They’ve done it the last 3 years.
Grade: D (NHL ’94 players can help sell tickets at least).

Buffalo Sabres
Lost: Alexei Zhitnik & Miroslav Satan (both went to the Islanders)
Acquired: QB JP Losman.
I’m recommending that Buffalo fans just stick with the Bills, because the Sabres are officially the worst team in the league now.
Grade: F

Southeast Division
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lost: G Nikolai Khabibulin
Acquired: ???
They still have Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lacavalier, as well as fellow Miami Redhawk Defenseman Dan Boyle (had to give a shoutout). They will still score a lot, but also give up a lot.
Grade: D-

Florida Panthers
Lost: ???
Acquired: Joe Niewendyk, Gary Roberts, & Martin Gelinas
They acquired all old guys… I couldn’t figure out, then ESPN told me that Mike Keenan is their GM. He must be reliving the early ‘90s.
Grade: D

Western Conference
Central Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Lost: ???
Acquired: G Nikolai Khabibulin, D Adrian Aucoin, Martin Lapointe,
Christmas in July in Chicago. They nabbed the best goalie on the market, maybe even the league. I still can’t believe Khabibulin left the defending champs. This would be like Tom Brady leaving after the 1st Super Bowl, when he was surrounded by a young, emerging team.
Grade: A

Columbus Blue Jackets
Lost: ???
Acquired: Adam Foote, Bryan Berard, Jan Hrdina
Maybe I should go down and check out a game. These guys could start to turn the corner, with super-scorer Rick Nash. The problem is the goalie, but then again, with the rule changes, that could be a problem for everyone. Anyways, their goalie is Marc Denis, who was Patrick Roy’s backup on Colorado. He must have learned something from being tutored by an insane genius.
Grade: A-

Nashville Predators
Lost: ???
Acquired: Paul Kariya, Danny Markov
Not bad at all, but they overspent on Kariya in hopes that the new rules will return him to his old form. It should (hopefully) bring some fans to the games though.
Grade: B+

Northwest Division
Calgary Flames

Lost: ???
Acquired: Tony Amonte, Darren McCarty, re-signed their goalie, Kiprusoff.
This was a team that made the Finals 2 years ago, and they actually were able to add to their team. AND they extended the contract of Jarome Iginla who was a man among children in the last full NHL Season.
Grade: A-

Colorado Avalanche
Lost: Peter Forsberg & Adam Foote & Paul Kariya
Acquired: Pierre Turgeon.
Ouch. Doesn’t look to good on paper at all, but this was inevitable with the salary cap. They do have some great young players in Alex Tanguay & Milan Hejduk, and of course Joe Sakic and Rob Blake.
Grade: C (they really had no choice. Their GM let 2 guys go, in order to keep all of the younger guys).

Edmonton Oilers
Lost:? ???
Acquired: Chris Pronger AND Michael Peca.
That’s just sick. These guys acquired 2 of the best players available!
Grade: A+++

Pacific Division

Lost: ???
Acquired: Scott Neidermeyer.
Already have: Rob Neidermeyer.
Simply a marketing strategy. Nintendo has already given out the rights for them to make Super Neidermeyer Shirts.
Grade: A- (they’ll sell tickets, and amazingly, Scott is still only 31. I still can’t believe that, because he posted a +34 back in 1994 when he was all of 20. That’s amazing.)

LA Kings
Lost: Ziggy Palffy
Acquired: Pavol Demitra, Jeremy Roenick, Valerie Bure
That’s a pretty good take. Granted, Roenick is insane, but in LA, no one cares about hockey so it shouldn’t be as much of a problem. Don’t know if Roenick can score as much as Palffy has of late, but at least he’s entertaining. Most of the fans in LA will think Valerie is Pavel Bure anyway, so that has to help ticket sales.
Grade: C+

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Livan the Glove Home

After a much heated discussion on the MVP, I figured I would rant about the state of affairs with fans in MLB. I just read this story on Livan Hernandez and the fact that he wouldn't "pay" a fan for his glove back at 18K, season tickets and playoff tickets this year. Here is the story...

Dumbass Fan

This is one of the greediest story I have ever heard. Why do we as fans feel entitled to give players their equipment back for a price? If I was Livan I would have offered him to sacrifice a chicken for JooBo. Shouldn't we just root on our team and hope for the best for that player instead of asking for a price on their equipment. If this was Livan's lucky glove that he won the 97 WS with, then why not just give it back to him and hope for the best in his next outing. Even though 18K is probably what he gets for sneezing in the clubhouse, it is absolutely ridiculous to feel entitled to it just for being the lucky person who catches the glove. We as fans have gotten to the point where there is a price for everything and just need to enjoy the games.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I know we had this conversation just a few days ago but Bill Simmons' posting requires a counterpoint to his contention that Johnny Damon is a worth MVP candidate.

In his posting, Simmons cites all sorts of stats about why Damon should win the award. This is, of course, both before AND after saying numerous times that Manny and/or Ortiz are the best players on the team, the most unstoppable offensive forces in the game, etc. Basically he doesn't believe what he's writing, he's just looking for an excuse to write another dick-licking piece about the Red Sox. If it weren't for his great sense of humor, I'd have given him the Gammons/Shanoff treatment. I'm reluctant to give him a pass, only because I hate it when writers just type garbage to fill a column but I can't really get that mad at him because, after all, he's the Sports Guy.

Suffice it to say, Damon is not the AL MVP. I know the people that vote on these sorts of things are confused old farts and/or closed-minded morons who live by antiquated rules (HR+RBI+AVG+place in lineup=MVP). The real AL MVP, as I said last week, is unquestionably, Mariano Rivera. No one player has had a bigger impact on the success of his team and no one player is more indispensable to his team in the American League. Plain and simple, without Rivera, the Yanks would be under .500. If that's not MVP-caliber impact, I don't know what is.


I'm a neophyte to the pleasures (and pains) of golf. I'm part of the Tiger Woods generation -- I only began to care about golf when Tiger showed up and made the game more interesting for the masses. I didn't even get serious about golf until this summer when I found out how much fun it is to hit a little white ball 285 yards straight away -- and that's only cool because Tiger made it cool.

Anyway, the point of this post is to congratulate Phil Mickelson on his victory at the PGA Tournament this morning and to give props to Tiger for bouncing back from a horrendous opening round +5 to finish tied for fourth at -2. Had Tiger played slightly more Tiger-like last Thursday, he'd have won his third major in 2005 and his 11th overall. What's even cooler is that the annoying prick Vijay Singh finished tied for 10th even though he had better rounds than Tiger before the cut. I hate Vijay Singh and I urge all other golf fans to hate him as well. There's nothing pleasant about him and it's just so much fun to root against him. I like knowing that my favorite golfer can suck shit for a day then bounce back and rip up the field but the world's "other" golf superstar can't carry Tiger's jock when ole TW is on his game.

Congrats, Lefty. Way to go, Tiger. You suck, Vijay.

Letters to the editors

Dear Sir,
I really enjoy the Back Seat Drivers but was wondering if I could have a preview of things to come for the rest of the month.
Brian Fantana

Well Brian ask and ye shall receive. Gutsy will pen his much anticipiated NFL Preview on August 31rst. During the NFL year he will do his famous football picks on Wednesday so make sure you check in with Gutsy before laying down a bet so your bookie doesn't break your thumbs (this means you MJ). I will be writing my NFL rewind column on Mondays which will be just like Peter King's MMQ except it will be funny, accourate and I won't write it while my mouth is attached to Tom Brady's balls.

Also be on the look out for Colonel Sanders 3 part series on this season's bowie knives. Our resident Navy S.E.A.L. will answer such questions like which one works best underwater. Hart, once he returns from forest fighting in Malaysia and being a contestant on Indonesia's most popular game show "Who wants to win a bowl of rice", will be pulling double duty writing "East Asian Soccer and You" as well as "Can Mike Dikta fix NASA?'. Finally Beth will be evaluating Rush Limbaugh's call that he can reconcile TO and Donovan McNabb. Its current working title is "Do fat-ass drug addicts make good mediators?"

Thanks for your question Brian.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Giants v. Brown (Live)

Well I'm stuck doing work so I figured alongside I will do a Back Seat Drivers blogging. So without further ado let’s get to it. I'll be looking at how the lines look, if the players can stay healthy, has Eli progressed, how Charlie Frye does, do the Browns tackle or instead forget and try use two hand touch.

15:00 The first play is a shocker… a Browns' player is hurt. I feel like a Browns player would get hurt getting the paper. Geez can't this team do any sort of live tackling without various appendages falling off. Its just not intimidating having your penis fall off on the field.

13:31 Eli is looking ok so far. He just made a completion to Burress. I think Burress might be a nice pickup. He's a big target and might help stretch the field and give more space for Shockey's tattoo.

11:55 The game is called on a case of boils (ok delay because of lightening). Small note is that the ref doing the game is the same one from the infamous Jag's "flying bottles game." For the record I think he deserved getting attacked by radios and batteries. People work on incentives. If the ref is worried he could be attacked for making a bad call then maybe he won't make bad calls (or be bought off by the mafia to let the Jags win)

9: 13 EST - Apparently the Hell Mouth has closed leaving Cleveland Stadium relatively free of lightening and demonic activity. The Giants are back on the field doing some TaeBo or polaties or so weird disco type stretch maneuver. Looks kind of gay to me (not that theres anything wrong with that)

9:30 After a little confusion from the Cleveland announcing B team (e.g. random former players that would work for sandwiches) its revealed that Eli has thrown a touchdown to Burress. Hey what did I say earlier? I like this connection. Of course the Browns defense put up slightly less resistance than a French army. The linebackers still haven't picked up the nuance of the 3-4 (and by 3-4 I mean coverage).

9: 38 The Browns offensive line seems to do a better job tackling than the defense. I like how Lee Suggs is looking though. He has that extra gear that gives him a burst of speed and he has wiry strength (much like me)

9: 48 Another penalty. These penalties are taking the fun out of this. This is ugly for an exhibition game. I think I'm going to try something slightly more entertaining like re-arranging my sock drawer or reading a math textbook. Or I suppose I could finish up work for my other job. Yeah that’s the ticket.

Concluding Thoughts: The Browns o-line and linebacker corps don't know their assignments or have less talent that a division III school. Eli looks better but still seems to overthrow on occasion. He’s also not making reads very quickly (I say this after he gets sacked). Onto the scrubs. (Surely they can't be serious about this weather.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Just Asking...

In an homage to the famous NY Post gossip column header, I'm going to do a quick "Just Asking" column...

Which NHL team signed one of the biggest douchebags in sports? Even at an affordable $1.5M, this player is still a worthless bum who's never lived up to the hype....

Which NFL player most deserves to be outed? Despite frequent rants against the sexual orientation of his former teammate, his recent behavior (working out shirtless in public, a fondness for camouflage, spandex and tank-tops) explains a lot of why he's so unhappy. Closeted much?

Which MLB pitcher likes turkey wrap sandwiches, wears a bluetooth earpiece, a BlackBerry on his belt-clip and has a famous dislike for television cameramen? Our spy witnessed this individual and three teammates at a deli on West 56th Street at lunchtime...

Which professional boxer was rumored to be in negotiations to appear in a skin-flick with sexpot Jenna Jameson? Che Guevara, Mao Zedong and Arthur Ashe would not approve if they knew how close they might be getting to a very pretty but seriously used girl...

Have a good weekend, readers.

PS -- Despite the fact that he hasn't written a single word on this blog since I've been a member (going on six months now), our fellow "contributor" Laz has a nice diary of his own about his MLB ballpark roadtrips. Check it out at Also, Laz, if you still check in here, hitting the enter key once in a while might be a good idea. Paragraphs are meant to have spaces in them. Just a thought.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Is it Possible... send Terrell Owens out to Cambodia with Hart (who btw is having a grand old time, much to my suprise, in SouthEast Asia) because frankly he is taking up valuable air space on ESPN. After all I'm sure its squeezing out time of their coverage of the Patriots or segment in which Sean Salisbury kicks sand in the face of John Clayton.

Here at Back Seat Drivers Publishing Columbus branch, an attempt will be made to have live coverage of the Cleveland Browns v. New York Giants. No promises. I hear Shockey has it in for me ever since I popped him good at the Jets practice.

Really Quickly...

...I'm swamped at work (I've gotten a pseudo-promotion since the guy I worked for quit last week. Now I have a lot more responsibility but without the benefit of the salary increase, hence the pseudo) and I'm swamped with a project for school that's due in two weeks. Therefore, I don't have a whole lot of time to blog right now. I'll just give you all the stuff that's floating off the top of my head:

1. Terrell Owens: What a dilemma. The Eagles desperately need him on the field because without him, I'm pretty sure they're a 9-7 team at best. The Eagles also desperately need to get rid of him because I'm pretty sure that the locker room is so poisoned with him around that they might be a 7-9 team when he's wearing 81 Green. Total Catch-22 here. As a Giants fan, I'd like the Eagles to trade him for pennies on the dollar (they've got no leverage here) just so the NFC East can go back to full mediocrity throughout. It's no fun when the Eagles go 12-4 and the rest of the NFC East goes 6-10.

2. Yanks: Finished. 5 1/2 games out of the AL East lead is too much for this team. Maybe not for another incarnation of the Yanks but this one clearly doesn't care about playing baseball when the leaves turn brown. How else to explain scoring five runs in three games against Orlando Hernandez, Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia -- none of them known for being stellar big league pitchers. The biggest problem this team has is Bernie Williams. He's become a flat-out horrible centerfielder (the Yanks lead the league in triples given up, a telling sign of a shitty defensive middle outfielder) and its translated into effortless AB's where he just goes up there and swings at the first pitch, irrespective of the situation. I don't care how many rings he won and how big a part he played in the 1995-2001 dynasty, he's got to go. See ya Bernie. Maybe one day we'll hang up #51 in New Yankee Stadium but for now, please clear out your locker and let yourself out.

3. More T.O.: I'd love to see him get traded to the Falcons. Not because I think that'll make the Falcons a great team but because it'll be funny to see how little patience T.O. will extend to Michael Vick. If T.O. didn't like playing with Jeff Garcia, by all accounts a fine QB in the West Coast system, how will he like playing with a guy that can't read defenses and has shown zero mastery whatsoever of the West Coast playbook. Throw in the fact that Vick operates on the "when in doubt, run" motto and no future hall-of-fame wide receiver with T.O.'s level of patience will want to go to Atlanta.

My opinion is that T.O. needs to end up in Kansas City. KC's receiving corps isn't too impressive and Vermeil loves to throw the ball downfield with all his crazy stunts and gimmicks. KC's got an adequate passer (Green), a great runner (Holmes) and the best tight end (Gonzalez). Sure KC should worry more about their defense but I think that's a place that could make it work for both parties.

Then again, I'm not actually rooting for T.O.'s happiness. If I had my druthers, T.O. ends up back in San Francisco where he can fume about being on a seriously bad team with a rookie QB, a poor offensive line, an up-in-the-air running game and a certain perenially-discriminated population (that he has gone on record as saying that he hates) cheering him on in pink and purple 81 jerseys. That would make for great reality TV too.

4. More Yanks: Joe Torre should not be fired. Brian Cashman should be fired instead. Joe's a fairly lousy field manager but a fairly good manager of people considering the setting and who his employer is. Joe's doing a reasonable job given the fact that Cashman decided to build a pitching staff around Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, given their injury history. While I wish we could fire Joe because I think there are guys that are better at the X and O stuff (I could spend hours writing about all the tactical things he did wrong last year in the playoffs and in the losses we've suffered since the All-Star break), only I don't think there's anyone in baseball, living or dead, that could get the respect and attention of the players currently in the clubhouse. That's not a dig at guys like Bobby Cox or Tony LaRussa, it's just that I can't see Derek Jeter playing for anyone else.

I can't believe I'm actually saying this out loud but I sort of want this Yankee team to go away forever. I'd rather we stink with rookies and start again. It was more fun 10 years ago not knowing what would happen. Break up this team. Not because they're winning too much but because they don't care about winning enough. Where's the real Jeter? The guy currently playing shortstop and leading off ain't the guy I know. This one's playing like his shit don't stink. Jeet, buddy, you know it kills me to blast you in public but just because you won four titles doesn't mean you don't have to try. You can't hide behind your rings. Either play for the team you're on or ask out. Believe me, though, you don't want to go out there. It's a cruel world and they won't love you like we do.

PS -- I never meant to write this much because, as I said at the top, I really have a lot of other stuff to do. I'll never make it as a real writer, I'm far too verbose...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

NBA Off-season Report Cards

Phoenix Suns
Lost: Quentin Richardson, Joe Johnson (I am assuming the trade goes through)
Acquired: Kurt Thomas- center?, 2 lottery protected 1st round picks that can’t be used until the Atlanta Hawks make the playoffs (2009? 2011?), and some guy named Boris Diaw.
Unbelievable. We commented on this team on the blog, and we were all skeptical about Phoenix doing well this year. They’ve lost all of their depth. At least they still have Nash, Amare, and Shawn Marion. It’s unreal how last season, they had the best off-season with getting Nash and Quentin Richardson, and this season, they just sucked.
Conspiracy Theory: IF the Joe Johnson trade does not go through, I will be thoroughly convinced that Phoenix just paid like $5 million to the Atlanta owner who refuses to agree to the trade. If the trade doesn’t go through, suddenly, Phoenix gets Joe Johnson at a discounted rate, because no other teams even have the cap space to give him a max deal!
Team Grade: D- (If Joe Johnson leaves), C- (If Joe Johnson stays at the discounted rate)

Seattle Supersonicahs
Retained: Jesus Shuttleworth-SG -
Lost: Jerome James - C , Antonio Daniels - PG, could be more still...
Unless a team is on the verge of winning a championship, I don’t think Ray Allen is worth the money. Seattle would have been better off spending the money locking up the rest of their free agents (Jerome James, A. Daniels, Radmanovic, R. Murray) instead of only signing Ray Allen. Ray Allen was hardly even trying for over 2 years, until suddenly it was a contract year and he knew he needed to work hard again. I can’t even imagine the lack of effort he will put on the court the last 3 years of this contract.
Team Grade: D+

Memphis Grizzlies – this is confusing, let’s just list out what they did:
Lost: Bonzi Wells (to Sacramento), Stromile Swift (to Houston), Jason Williams, James Posey.
Acquired: Bobby Jackson- PG, Eddie Jones-SG, Damon Stoudamire-PG, Hakim Warrick (rookie from Syracuse).
What an absolute complete mess! I’d feel better if each of the players they acquired were 5 years younger, but the Grizzlies were getting rid of 2 players with severe behavior problems (Bonzi Wells & Jason Williams). Bonzi really doesn’t get along well with any coach yet. My favorite story is back when Bonzi was on Portland. After practice, Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi saw some young European on the team taking additional shots. Supposedly, Bonzi then chucked a basketball at this guy’s head, and Rasheed and Bonzi just laughed for like 10 minutes. If there ever was a story that represented the “straw that broke the camel’s back” this may have been it. Obviously, they were both traded from Portland shortly after that.
The good news – old-man Stoudamire and oft-injured Bobby Jackson will probably make a better backcourt then the erratic Jason Williams, and average Earl Watson. Of course, this all depends on Bobby Jackson, who seems to get injured on his way to the grocery store and misses 30-40 games consistently every year.
The bad news - Memphis just has to put up with Eddie Jones for 2 seasons, and then they will get out of this mess, and be able to spend a lot of money. Additionally, they gave up James Posey, their best defender!!! What were they thinking???
Side note – losing Stromile Swift won’t hurt them much, because they drafted Hakim Warrick, who has the exact same kind of physique, rebounding skills, & shot blocking game.
Grade: C+ (IF Bobby Jackson is healthy and plays) , C- (IF Jackson doesn’t play much).

Milwaukee Bucks --
Michael Redd-SG & Bobby Simmons- SF ? & re-signed Gadzuric – Center; Bogut (rookie from Utah)
Milwaukee has quite the interesting roster suddenly. If TJ Ford actually returns from the back problem that kept him out all of last season, this team will start Ford & Redd in the backcourt, Simmons & Joe Smith up front, with Bogut passing the ball around. AND they have SG Desmond Mason off the bench, who can really score AND a capable 7-footer off the bench in Gadzuric. I’m going to say it right now, I think the whole Central division (Pistons, Pacers, Cavs, Bulls, & Bucks) could be in the playoffs next year!
The only drawback to these signings is the fact that Redd has a max contract just to shoot 3s (he can’t rebound, play defense, or distribute the ball) and Simmons got quite a lot of money for just one good year. This team will be stuck with each other for a long time, for better or for worse. The biggest unknown is how Simmons will perform. I like Simmons, but there still is a lot of uncertainty, and $9 million is a big bet that he will be an all-star caliber player.
Team Grade: B+ (may have spent too much too quickly, but a lot of potential is there)

Cleveland Cavaliers -
Larry Hughes - SG? ; Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Center ; Donyell Marshall – PF/SF?
Hughes is as perfect a fit as one could ask for. I’ve already commented how I like the fact that he can 1) handle the ball, 2) play defense & 3) create steals and fastbreaks. Re-signing Z was necessary, even though Z will probably break down and not be that effective the last 2 years of the contract. It’s a necessary signing though, because Z is a rare 7-footer who can actually contribute. That’s why the Hughes signing is important, since the other 4 players on the floor have to be very active defensively to help with Z’s shortcomings (i.e. lack of quickness). This gives the Cavs a nice 3-year window to win it all. The icing on the cake was getting Donyell Marshall, a big guy who actually shoots 3s. I’m also confident in Luke Jackson (2nd-year player from Oregon, had back surgery last year) and Sasha Pavlovic to help out in the 3-pointer department. The Cavs are a great deal better than they were at the end of last season, they actually could have a decent 8-man rotation!
Team Grade: A- (the only way they get a better grade is if they had a perfect sign-and-trade to get something for Z. Rumors were swirling that there weren’t many trade partners capable of returning any kind of competent big-man in return ; so this really was the best-case situation for the Cavs, unless you think Simmons is a better buy at $9mill than Hughes at $14 mill)

Indiana Pacers:
Lost: Reggie Miller
Gained: Ron Artest, Granger (rookie from New Mexico), Euro guard that shoots 3s [Sarunas Jasikevicius – I looked it up]
Getting Artest back is huge. There won't be a hungrier man on the planet than Artest. In addition, the Pacers added a couple of players to their rotation, that should certainly make up for Reggie Miller. This is one deep team, that’s all I have to say.
Team Grade: A

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I have never...

ever seen an inning quite like the one in which the Kansas City Royals allowed 8 hits, committed 3 errors and all told gave up 11 runs in the 9th inning. Never! The Royals , in a scene taken directly from the Bad News Bears, managed to drop a fly ball, boot a single to the outfield and lost out on an opportunity to go to Dairy Queen. To quote Major League:

General Manager: How would you like to manage the Indians this year?
Lou Brown: Gee, I don't know...
General Manager: What do you mean? This is your chance to manage in the big leagues.
Lou Brown: Let me get back to you. I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.

Somehow I think that applies to the Royals these days. Have a cold drink on me Buddy Bell, you deserve it tonight.